"Hopefully, it's not a ladyboy"

Newly crowned Miss Belgium, Angeline Flor Pua, has faced racist abuse online for her Asian heritage.

Times Now reports that the 22-year-old beauty queen was crowned Miss Belgium on 13 January. Although she was born in Antwerp, her Filipino heritage seems to have rustled some feathers.

“I call this Miss Philippines, not Miss Belgium,” one Twitter user wrote. Another wrote, “hopefully, it’s not a ladyboy”.

Speaking to the BBC, Pua addressed the racist comments. “I’ve heard about the negative comments,” she said. Of course, it hurts a lot to read those things about myself because I know those things are not true. I can show my ID, my birth certificate to prove that I am a Belgian.”

Pua added that she had never faced racism growing up. “Never, that’s why I’m very shocked about the news happening these few days because I’ve never been confronted with those topics,” she revealed. “I’ve always been accepted by the people at work, at school, everywhere”.

Others supported the new Miss Belgium. “The proof that Belgians are embracing diversity,” one user wrote. “‘Miss Belgium is not Belgian?’ So what, she has to be a blonde white woman?” wrote another.

Pua also shared a message for those facing racial abuse. “To the people who are victims of it, you know the best of yourself, you should not feel sorry because, you should be proud of who you are. You should be proud of who you are or what you are or where you come from. You are still a human [being] with a good heart. Just remember that”.